Brace yourselves. A new festive season is approaching and that means preparing your credit cards for a heavy hit of pointless presents for people you sort of like.
Unbeknownst to most men there’s officially 10 more weeks until Christmas, so we figured it was due time we compiled a list of rules to help you guys get over the line with budgeting during this period of free-for-all spending. We’re in no way advocating you become a scavenging old Scrooge; more so we’re endorsing a concept of spend it where it matters – think mothers, fathers and nieces (none for your mistress).
Listen up, spend wisely and walk into the new year fiscally unscathed.
#1 Use Cash Money
Lets get the basics out of the way. Pay in cash for presents and avoid using the credit card where possible. The interest fees that can roll in during this time do make a real difference when you find you’ve only got $3.20 left in your bank account. Keep in mind that if you’ve accumulated frequent flyer or rewards points over the year, now is the best time to cash them in for trips, accommodation and gifts.
#2 Early Bird Gets The Savings
It has been spoken of many times and most probably won’t listen, but do not wait until the last minute to grab your gifts. Spread out your spending by starting your shopping now with 10 weeks to go as you can still catch some of the regular sales going on. Having a list of of items to tick off with a rough budget on how much you want to spend on each one will also help you stay within your spending limitations.
#3 Don’t Buy A New Outfit For Every Party
In the wise words of Ryan Gosling’s character from Crazy Stupid Love, “a man can rebuild his wardrobe in just 16 items or less”, so don’t neglect those threads – unless they’re shit to begin with. Have a look at what’s inside your closet: pair basics such as tees with the different trousers or jeans you have, or use fitted suit pants to go with white sneakers and a tee for that casual weekender look. Our guide on how to dress cool if you’re a bit of a tightass will leave you with more cash to spend on other things during this festive season.
#4 Shop Around, Fool
It may seem pretty obvious but we know that most guys (including us) have the tendency to buy what they need from the first store they step into. If you’re that lazy, check what you’re after online first to compare which store is selling it cheaper. That way your task is made even easier and you won’t need to fight angry mothers when you make a bee-line straight to that damn Ninja Lego set. As a side note, shop solo – it’s been proven that people tend to spend more money when they’re shopping with friends as everyone is in a rush to get things done which means less shopping around for what you need.
#5 Advice From The Expert Money Guy
Luke Laretive is D’Marge’s expert money guy who says that the inevitable increase in spending from social obligations, gifts, travel, food and booze during the silly season doesn’t need to be painful.
“The two easiest areas to save on are gifts and booze,” he says.
“Bulk buy your booze when it’s on special and you’ll save money as well as spreading out your expenses so you’re not flat broke come January. It also means you’ll always have a nice bottle on hand when you’re running out to that BBQ or dinner party. Just don’t drink your stockpile all at once.”
Additionally, Laretive says that if there’s going to be people that you’ll only see after Christmas, save the gift buying for the Boxing Day sales instead. This will save you some cash without making you look like a miser.
“With some forward planning, there’s no need to be a Christmas scrooge. Save smart where you can so you can enjoy the holidays with friends and family.”
Special thanks to Luke Laretive who is a Senior Private Wealth Adviser @ Shaw and Partners. This is general advice and you should consider it in light of your personal circumstances.